Josie Huang, a reporter with NPR affiliate KPCC, was tackled and arrested while covering a protest on Saturday, September 12th. Huang had been attending a press conference about the shooting of two Sheriff’s deputies in Compton earlier that day.
Hours after the story broke that the Pentagon was planning to close Stars and Stripes, Donald Trump tweeted that he would not allow the newspaper to get shut down. The tweet took some by surprise, not only because the President is not known for defending the press, but because it was his administration's 2021 budget that had cut the newspaper’s funding in half.
In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit wrote that the lower court’s restraining order was too broad because it failed to specify who qualified as a journalist or legal observer. In previous hearings, the federal government had argued that differentiating between journalists and protesters was especially difficult given that some protesters wear press insignia to avoid the police’s crowd control tactics.
The judge extended a preliminary injunction prohibiting federal agents from "arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force" against journalists or legal observers. An attorney working with the ACLU on the case called the court's decision "a crucial victory for civil liberties and freedom of the press."
The district judge rejected the notion that journalists had no legal right to remain in an area where officers had issued an order to disperse. "Without journalists and legal observers, there is only the government’s side of the story to explain why a ‘riot’ was declared and the public streets were ‘closed’ and whether law enforcement acted properly in effectuating that order,” the judge wrote.
A reporter for Asbury Park Press is suing the city of Belmar, New Jersey and several police officers for assaulting and arresting him during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 1st. Filed on July 13th in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the complaint alleges that reporter Gustavo Martínez was “unlawfully tackled, arrested, detained and jailed by law enforcement."
Linda Tirado, a freelance journalist who permanently lost vision in her left eye after being hit with a projectile, is suing the city of Minneapolis and various law enforcement officials for her injuries, as well as for violating her Fourth and First Amendment rights.
The complaint cites six incidents of arrests, 14 incidents of the use of physical force, five incidents of the use of chemical agents, and five incidents of threatening language and gestures, made by police officers against reporters, often without warning.